Riot Games have announced their 2021 esports plans for League of Legends: Wild Rift

Published: Jan 11, 2021

After a banner year for League of Legends with the game generating a revenue of 1.75 billion dollars alone, Riot Games is looking to compete with their mobile counterparts. The mobile version of League of Legends, Wild Rift, will be getting its own esports calendar this year. It is not as bombastic a start as their previous esports release, Valorant, but they are certainly positioning themselves as a competitor to titles like PUBG Mobile or Arena of Valor.

According to a recent report from SuperData,  League of Legends was the highest earning, non-mobile free to play title over the last year and the sixth highest-earning free to play title overall. The highest earning free to play titles were all on mobile. Tencent’s Honor of Kings and Peacekeeper Elite were unsurprisingly at the top of the list. They brought in $2.45 and $2.32 billion respectively. Clearly Riot Games has seen the potential that mobile versions of their popular MOBA have and want a slice of the pie.

Initial esports plans

Riot Games have plans to introduce Wild Rift esports events in Southeast Asia, to begin with, and to follow up those smaller tournaments with larger events in the region and eventually globally. A post on the lol esports website outlines their initial plans for the esport.

“In Southeast Asia, the season will kick off with several smaller, intermittent competitive events through March. In April, teams will transition to eight, location-specific tournament circuits where they will compete for the title of local champion and a chance to later compete against other local champions from across Southeast Asia.”

Staggered release

The game has already been downloaded over five million times worldwide since the release of the beta. That’s right, the game is still in beta. They have not finished the development of the game, but they are already supporting the ancillary esports scene. The game has been available in Southeast Asia for some time now and it is clear why they are starting there. It would take some time to build a player base for a game that was only released in the UK and Europe on December 10th last year. In fact, the game is not even available in North America yet. They will get that chance in March of this year.

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Wild Rift Season One

Despite the staggered start of the mobile title, they have started their first proper season on January 8th. The game received its first major update, Wild Rift 2.0. The new update has brought in major changes and improvements to the mobile title. Five new champions have been added along with a slate of significant quality of life improvements.

New Champions

  • Corki, The Daring Bombardier
  • Kennen, the Heart of the Tempest
  • Tristana, the Yordle Gunner
  • Lulu, the Fae Sorceress
  • Teemo, the Swift Scout

New Features

Party Finder: This makes it easier for players to get into premade games. Party owners can make their lobbies available to their Friends list or to the public, and players can search for open lobbies to join.

New latency indicator: A network indicator to show what kind of network you’re on (WiFi, 4G, etc.), plus a new in-game indicator of your actual ping during gameplay.

Social Sharing: Players can now save the end-of-game scoreboard, end-of-game personal performance, career most played champ, season rank, win streak, new champ acquired, new skin acquired, and leader board screens to their device camera roll or share straight to Facebook.

Map Description: You can now explore the Wild Rift map in detail. Read up on jungle monsters, epic monsters, plants, and structures at your leisure.

Performance-improving tutorials: They can now be prompted based on a player’s gameplay. They also made some visual updates to the tutorial and first champion unlock screen.

The future for Riot Games and League of Legends

Now, in 2021, with multiple avenues to play League of Legends and a growing userbase for their esports FPS Valorant, Riot is primed for even more success. Riot even has a few more games in the pipeline. Riot has already released a League-themed card game and an auto-battler. In 2021, the company plans to launch a console version of the game, League of Legends: Wild Rift, and a spinoff single-player, turn-based RPG for consoles and PC.

Featured Image Credits: Riot Games
Andrew Boggs

Since: September 11, 2020

Andrew is a Northern Ireland based journalist with a passion for video games. His latest hobby is watching people speedrun Super Mario 64 and realising how bad he is at platformers.

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